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Updated: 2 hours 42 min ago

Target upgraded on accelerating earnings growth following investments

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 09:19

Target Corp. was upgraded to positive from neutral at Susquehanna Financial Group now that analysts see accelerating earnings growth following a period of investments in digital and private label brands. Its price target was moved to $84 from $54. Analysts led by Bill Dreher see earnings-per-share growth at a double-digit rate for fiscal 2018. Analysts believed for a year that exclusive brands where it's not facing "dramatic competitive pressure" were the retailer's "biggest opportunity" and a way to differentiate itself from the competition. "Despite our appreciation of Target's overall strategy and their investments in omnichannel initiatives, it was Target's lack of long-term earnings visibility and clear signs of accelerated success that had kept us on the sidelines with a neutral rating," the note said. Target raised its fourth-quarter profit outlook on Tuesday after strong holiday sales. The retailer's shares are up 20% for the last three months while the S&P 500 index is up nearly 8% for the period.

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Warren Buffett says cryptocurrencies headed for a 'bad ending'

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 09:05

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is confident the cryptocurrency story will end in tears, but he isn't putting any money on it. "In terms of cryptocurrencies generally, I can say with almost certainty that it will come to a bad ending," the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and chief executive told CNBC in an interview. Buffett said that if it were possible to buy a five-year put option "on every one of the cryptocurrencies" he would do so, but that he would never "short a dime's worth" of any of them outright. Buffett also said he had no interest in trading bitcoin futures . The bitcoin spot price was off 4% at $13,982.65, far off the all-time high above $19,000 it hit in mid-December.

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Kodak's stock rockets again on heavy volume after blockchain initiative

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 08:49

Shares of Eastman Kodak Co. shot up 68% in active premarket trade Wednesday, adding to the 119% jump in the previous session on the heels of the camera and film company's announcement of a "major blockchain initiative." Volume ballooned to 6.2 million shares less than an 45 minutes before the open, making the stock the most actively traded in the premarket. The stock is on track to open at the highest level seen during regular session hours since April 7, 2017. At current prices, it has nearly quadrupled since closing at a record low of $3.05 on Jan. 4. After Tuesday's doubling, the stock was still down 2.9% over the past three months and down 55.6% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has rallied 21.3% over the past year.

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American Airlines' stock climbs after unit revenue outlook raised

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 08:35

Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. rallied 1.1% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the air carrier raised its fourth-quarter unit revenue outlook, citing improving yields in all geographic regions and higher-than-anticipated domestic close-in bookings. The company now expects total revenue per available seat miles to be up 5.0% to 6.0%, compared with its previous guidance range of 2.5% to 4.5%. The company also raised its outlook for pre-tax margin, excluding special items, to 6.5% to 7.0% from 4.5% to 6.5%. Total capacity for 2017 was up about 1% from a year ago, with domestic capacity about flat and international capacity up 4%. The stock has lost 1.8% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the NYSE Arca Airline Index has gained 1.9% and the S&P 500 has climbed 7.9%.

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Sirius XM's stock rallies after self-pay subscriber additions beats expectations

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 08:11

Sirius XM Holdings Inc.'s stock rallied 1.7% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the radio company said it added more self-pay subscribers than it expected. The company said it ended 2017 with 27.5 million self-pay subscribers, up 1.56 million from a year ago. In October, the company said it expected about 1.4 million self-pay subscriber additions. Sirius said it expects to "meet or exceed" its 2017 outlook for revenue, free cash flow and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). For 2018, the company expects to self-pay net subscriber additions of about 1 million and revenue of $5.7 billion. The FactSet consensus for 2018 revenue is $5.74 billion. The stock has lost 6.0% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 7.9%.

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UPDATE: Sears stock jump 5% on news of $100 million in new financing, liquidity and cost-cutting measures

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:43

Sears Holding Corp. said Wednesday it has raised $100 million in new financing and is seeking an additional $200 million from other counterparties. The troubled department store chain said it has also amended terms on its existing second lien notes and is in talks with other lenders to improve the terms on up to $1 billion of non-first lien debt. "As previously announced, we are actively pursuing transactions to adjust our capital structure in order to generate liquidity and increase our financial flexibility," Chief Financial Officer Rob Riecker said in a statement. "The new capital we have secured represents meaningful progress towards those objectives and demonstrates that we continue to have options to finance our business." The company is also planning further streamlining of its operations to achieve cost reductions of $200 million on an annualized basis in 2018 excluding store closures. Shares jumped 5.4% premarket, but have fallen 65% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 21%.

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Vince says holiday same-store sales rose 15.9%

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:36

Luxury clothing and accessories maker Vince Holdings Corp. said Wednesday that same-store sales for the nine-week holiday period through Dec. 30 rose 15.9%. Direct-to-consumer same-store sales rose 8.8% in the period, while merchandise margin for the direct-to-consumer segment rose slight from the year-earlier period. "The new product is resonating with our customers and driving double digit comparable sales growth in our full price direct-to-consumer channels," Chief Executive Brendan Hoffman said in a statement. "We were also pleased with improved sell-through at our wholesale partners, which we believe bodes well for 2018 performance." Shares were not yet active premarket, but have fallen 84% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 21%.

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Signet's stock sinks after holiday-season sales drop

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:32

Shares of Signet Jewelers Ltd. sank 5.6% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the diamond jewelry retailer reported holiday-period sales that fell from a year ago. Total sales for the nine weeks ending Dec. 30 declined 3.1% to $1.88 billion, while same-store sales dropped 5.3%. That compares with prior-year declines of 5.1% in total sales to $1.94 billion and 4.6% in same store sales. The company said the latest sales performance were hurt by the credit outsourcing transition. Signet said its e-commerce business grew by a "double-digit" percentage, while Zales Jewelers same-store sales increased 4.6%. The company affirmed its fiscal 2018 same-store sales outlook of down in the mid single-digit percentage range, but raised its earnings-per-share outlook to $6.45 to $6.50 from $6.10 to $6.50 to reflect an expected lower tax rate after the tax reform legislation. The stock has tumbled 14.8% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has run up 11.8% and the S&P 500 has climbed 7.9%.

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Lennar shares slide 4% after profit misses estimates

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:17

Lennar Corp. shares slid 4.8% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the company reported weaker-than-expected profit for its fiscal fourth quarter. The homebuilder said it had net income of $309.6 million, or $1.29 a share, in the quarter, down from $313.5 million, or $1.31 a share, in the year-earlier period. revenue rose 12% to $3.8 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.47 and revenue of $3.56 billion. New orders rose 12 to, while the company's backlog climbed 17% to 8,935 homes with a dollar value of $3.6 billion. "Although we missed fourth quarter, bottom-line guidance because a single, strategic transaction shifted into the first quarter of 2018, our core operating performance exceeded expectations," Chief Executive Stuart Miller said in a statement. Shares have gained 55% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 21%.

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Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway expands board by 2 to 14 members

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:12

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said Wednesday it was expanding its board to 14 members from 12 members, and had elected Gregory Abel and Ajit Jain to fill the two new spots. Abel, currently the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, was also appointed to be vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway's non-insurance business operations. Jain was appointed vice chairman of Berkshire's insurance operations. The company said Berkshire Chairman and Chief Executive Buffettm, and Vice Chairman Charles Munger, will continue in their current positions. The insurance, utilities and transportation company's Class B shares slipped 0.2% in premarket trade. They have gained 8.0% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has advanced 7.9%.

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Supervalu beats profit expectations, but sales fall short

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:02

Supervalu Inc. reported Wednesday fiscal third-quarter net income of $26 million, or 67 cents a share, compared with a loss of $26 million, or 69 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as merger and store closure charges and costs, adjusted earnings per share were 61 cents, beating the FactSet consensus of 46 cents. Adjusted EPS included a 30 cent discrete tax benefit. Revenue rose 31% to $3.94 billion, but fell shy of the FactSet consensus of $4.00 billion. Wholesale sales rose 52% to $2.89 billion, but was just below the FactSet consensus of $2.91 billion, while retail sales fell 4.1% to $1.02 billion, which was just below expectations of $1.04 billion. Same-store sales fell 3.5%, compared with the FactSet consensus for a 3.7% decline. The grocery store chain said it expects 2018 net earnings from continuing operations to a loss of $20 million to earnings of $2 million, which includes a charge of $35 million to $45 million to reduce the carrying value of deferred tax assets as a result of new tax legislation. The company had previously expected net earnings from continuing operations of $31 million to $50 million. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has lost 4.3% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 7.9%.

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Judge blocks Trump from ending DACA program

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 23:29

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program late Tuesday night. U.S. District Judge William Alsup approved a request by California and others to block the government from ending the program while their lawsuits are pending in court, and ordered the federal government to continue accepting DACA renewal applications. Alsup called the end of the program "arbitrary and capricious" and said it was likely "based on a flawed legal premise." DACA protects about 800,000 so-called "Dreamers," the children of undocumented immigrants. In September, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sesssions announced the program would end, and Congress has yet to come up with an alternative plan despite widespread bipartisan support. Tuesday's ruling does not allow for new DACA applications. The Justice Department is expected to appeal the ruling.

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Magnitude 7.6 quake sets off Caribbean tsunami warnings

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 23:03

A magnitude 7.6 earthquake in the Caribbean Sea appeared to cause little damage on land but sparked a tsunami warning stretching from Mexico to the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday night. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 125 miles northeast of Honduras and 190 miles south of the Cayman Islands. The U.S. Tsunami Warning System issued tsunami threats to the coasts of Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Belize and Jamaica, and tsunami advisories for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Local reports said officials were anticipating tsunami waves of 1 to 3 feet in some areas.

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North Carolina congressional districts ruled illegally gerrymandered

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 20:34

North Carolina's Republican-drawn congressional districts are illegally gerrymandered, a panel of three federal judges ruled Tuesday, and must be remade in the next two weeks. The circuit court judges found the map unconstitutional on grounds that it unfairly favored Republicans. "We agree with plaintiffs that a wealth of evidence proves the General Assembly's intent to 'subordinate' the interests of non-Republican voters and 'entrench' Republican domination of the state's congressional delegation," Judge James A. Wynn Jr. wrote in his opinion. North Carolina must draw a new map by Jan. 24, the judges said, warning that the court would appoint an expert to draw a new districting map for the 2018 elections if the state could not. It was the second time this decade that North Carolina's Republican-drawn congressional districts have been rejected in court.

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After complaints, Trump administration says no new Florida offshore drilling

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 19:20

The Trump administration said Tuesday it would withdraw Florida from consideration for potential new offshore oil drilling following criticism from Republican Gov. Rick Scott. After meeting with Scott on Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Florida offshore drilling was now "off the table," according to the Associated Press. Last week, Zinke said nearly all offshore areas on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts would be opened up to potential oil and gas leases. But offshore drilling is deeply unpopular in coastal states because of the risk of environmental catastrophe. On Monday, Maine's senators voiced opposition to potential drilling off their state, and California's lawmakers have vowed to fight the Trump administration's plan.

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United Continental December traffic up 2.7% year-on-year

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 18:15

Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. rose 2% late Tuesday after the airline said its December consolidated traffic (revenue passenger miles) increased 2.7% while consolidated capacity (available seat miles) increased 3.7% compared with December 2016. Shares ended the regular session down less than 0.1%.

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Uber reaches settlement with New York drivers for $3 million

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 17:49

Uber Technologies Inc. has agreed to pay a gross settlement fee of up to $3 million to settle a lawsuit brought by nearly 2,500 drivers in New York. The suit accuses Uber of subtracting too much money from drivers for taking inefficient routes and customer complaints among other things, according to the proposed settlement filed Monday. Uber did not admit to any of the claims and has denied the allegations. The San Francisco-based company also faced accusations of misleading drivers by saying they could make $5,000 their first month on the job and of a breach of contract due to calculating service fees. The $3 million settlement follows Uber's agreement to pay more than $80 million to about 96,000 New York drivers after the company admitted to underpaying them for more than two years, albiet inadvertently, Reuters reported. The settlement requires approval from U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis and the lawyers may collect fees of up to one third of the settlement fund, or $990,000.

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Domino's CEO to step down, board names Richard Allison new CEO

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 17:25

Domino's Pizza Inc. said late Tuesday President and Chief Executive J. Patrick Doyle will leave the company June 30, to be succeeded by Richard Allison, president of Domino's International. Doyle has led Domino's for more than eight years, the company said in a statement. "I will leave Domino's knowing that it is in great hands," Doyle said. Russell Weiner, president of Domino's USA, was promoted to the newly created role of chief operating officer of Domino's and president of the Americas, Domino's said. The appointments of Allison and Weiner will be effective as of July 1, the company said. Shares of Domino's fell 1.8% in late trading after ending the regular session up 1.5%.

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API data reportedly show U.S. crude supplies down more than 11 million barrels

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:42

The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies dropped by 11.2 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 5, according to sources. The API data showed a rise of 4.3 million barrels in gasoline stockpiles, while inventories of distillates climbed by 4.7 million barrels, sources said. Supply data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday morning. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the EIA to report a decline of 3.5 million barrels for crude inventories. They also forecast a rise of 2.3 million barrels for gasoline and an increase of 2.1 million barrels for distillate supplies. February crude was at $63.26 a barrel in electronic trading, up from the settlement of $62.96 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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WD-40 shares rise after company beats fiscal Q1 earnings, ups guidance

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:34

Shares of WD-40 Co. rose more than 5% late Tuesday after the company reported better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings and sales. WD-40 said it earned $12.6 million, or 90 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with 82 cents a share in the year-ago period. WD-40 said its total net sales reached $97.6 million, up 9% from $89.2 million a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of 83 cents a share on sales of $93 million. WD-40 also increased its guidance for fiscal 2018, saying it expects sales growth between 4% and 6% and net sales between $396 million and $403 million for the year. It projected per-share earnings between $3.91 and $3.98. The analysts surveyed by FactSet expect per-share earnings of $3.85 on sales of $398 million for fiscal 2018. Shares ended the regular session down 0.9%.

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